by: Paul Matuszak
spotlight on: Paul Matuszak
Effective next week, brief interviews will be conducted and posted here to give you all a little more insight into the lives of the guys and girls you run with on a regular basis. Do you want to know how everyone got involved with running in the first place? What do Philadelphia runners do when they are not training for races? You’ll be able to find that all here in the future. What follows is a completely unorganized interview the author (Paul) conducted on himself.
Question: Paul, the floor is all yours. Anything you want to start off with?
Answer: I run, drum and problem solve. I do those three things well. I am adequate to below average in all other life activities. I’m married, and my wife and I are approximately 13 weeks away from the birth of our first child. I work as a benefits consultant specializing in healthcare. My area of expertise lies in the actuarial science field. My favorite activity I do on a regular basis is drinking decaffeinated coffee in the evening. My favorite activity I seldom get a chance to do is take a nap.
Q: How did you get involved with running?
A: I signed up for cross country during my freshman year of high school so I could do a sport before baseball. My XC coach convinced me I had the talent to be very good. In hindsight, he was beyond desperate for athletes on the team as I flat out sucked relative to my skill at baseball at the time. But I believed him and eventually got better in track than I was in baseball. I broke 5 minutes in the mile for my first time during my Junior year and went on to finish my Senior year with PRs of 1:59/4:27/9:48 (800m/Mile/3200m). I went on to run for three years during college posting bests of 3:59/14:52 (1500m/5000m).
Q: How did you meet your wife?
A: I was filling in on the bass guitar for a gig a friend of mine had. I flat out killed it and Meghan (my now wife who was friends with the band I was filling in for) approached me to tell me how I flat out killed it. The rest is history.
Q: Is that story 100% accurate?
A: While it’s not likely 100% accurate, it’s more than 0% accurate.
Q: How did running fit in with your life style as you were gigging?
A: It didn’t. I quit running because I decided during the summer of 2007 it was dumb. I played drums for a ska/punk band from that point on until November of 2011. It was an awesome experience and the band got to play with some fantastic national acts (Big D and the Kids Table, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Ben Folds, Something Corporate, Voodoo Glow Skulls, etc.). When the band broke up, I took up binge drinking with my new-found time. I quickly became disgusted with that new hobby and took back up running in January 2012.
Q: How long did it take you to get back in shape?
A: Surprisingly not long at all. Playing drums to fast punk rock, along with taking up rugby in 2011, kept me relatively fit. Within three months, I already posted a 5K in 15:47. I was initially just planning to run through Broad Street (I had never run it before), but I was surprised how well my body responded to the longer distance (I went on to run 53:25 that May) so decided to stick with it and begin marathon training. After more than 4 years of training and a million injuries, I’m less than three weeks away from finally competing in my first marathon (Shamrock in VA Beach). The main goal is to win that race, but if the race allows for a fast time I have my sights set at breaking 2:22.
Q: How will your running goals change after you become a father?
A: I will only have one goal. Once my kid is stable to be put in a running stroller, I’m throwing down a challenge to beat Breandan L (who is also bound for fatherhood a month before me) in a road race that allows strollers. Joe B and Ian R, the challenge is thrown out to you two as well. Oh, and to create a “Dad Run Saturdays” group run each week where a bunch of parents run the river loop pushing their kids in strollers followed by a few adult beverages.
Q: What is your greatest challenge in life?
A: The constant analysis of whether my wife’s comments regarding my desire to have and/or occasionally have a mustache are to be taken at face value or if there is a sub-level of reverse psychology embedded within.
Q: I’m surprised by that response. I would have expected a comment regarding your inability to stabilize your stomach before a run which often involves you doing some unsightly activities on the side of the road with that zip lock bag of toilet paper you carry around in your shorts’ waste band?
A: No comment.